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In The News: PA Workers Comp Update 6/20/17

 HOW LONG CAN I GET WORKERS’ COMPENSATION BENEFITS IN PA.? 

AN UPDATE

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION: PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT ISSUES LANDMARK DECISION IN            PROTZ V. WCAB (DERRY AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT)

On June 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared that Section 306(a.2) of the Pa. Workers’ Compensation Act (the Act) was unconstitutional. Previously, since passage of revisions to the Act in 1996, an employer could have an injured worker evaluated by an independent medical examiner to determine his or her percentage of impairment directly resulting from a work injury. This was known as an Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). The injured worker must have received 104 weeks of total disability benefits prior to the IRE being requested. Once requested and scheduled, the IRE medical examiner was asked to utilize the American Medical Association (AMA) Guidelines for Impairment 4th Edition. If the IRE rating was equal to or greater than 50 percent, then an injured worker was presumed to be totally disabled. An injured worker was considered partially disabled if he or she had a total impairment rating of less-than 50 percent and the injured worker’s benefits were resultantly limited to the statutory 500-week partial disability time period. The AMA guidelines almost always found an injured worker less-than 50 percent disabled.

Why should an injured worker select an attorney who is a Pa. Workers’ Compensation Specialist Certified by the Pa. Bar Association section on Workers’ Compensation as approved by the Pa. Supreme Court?

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It’s no secret that all practicing Pennsylvania workers’ compensation lawyers have graduated from law school and have passed the Pennsylvania State Bar Exam. However, until recently, there was no way to OFFICIALLY determine which Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys were of the utmost quality.
 
As it is with any other field, the best lawyers are not only ALLOWED to practice law, but have PROVEN their expertise with years of experience, applied knowledge, and a good track record. Now, thanks to a certification set up by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, there is a LEGITIMATE method for consumers to determine which attorney is most qualified to handle a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case.
 
As you may have read in one of our previous posts, AJ Palutis and Fred Hait have met this qualification. Palutis and Hait are now certified as specialists in the practice of workers’ compensation law by the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Section on Workers’ Compensation Law as authorized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This honor not only demonstrates the experience, knowledge, and skill of its recipients, but also grants Pennsylvania legal service consumers the information and guidance needed to select the best representation for their Pennsylvania workers’ compensation case.  Below is some more information about why Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorneys that have been certified by the Supreme Court are of the highest quality.
 
To qualify for this certification, the applicant must meet a series of standards set fourth by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. First, one must have practiced law for a minimum number of years in which a minimum percentage of one’s practice dealt with workers’ compensation and subjects related to workers’ compensation. Those that qualified then took a four hour exam which rigorously covered a variety of workers’ compensation related topics.
 
Anyone looking for representation in workers’ compensation related cases in Pennsylvania would be wise to select legal counsel that has met these criteria. Those that have met these standards have not only proven their expertise by practicing workers’ compensation law for a number of years, but have also shown a tremendous amount of knowledge by passing the difficult exam. 
 
If your workers’ compensation case has been denied, contact a CERTIFIED workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. Do not miss out on the benefits you are entitled to. 
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